Conflicts happen. From the workplace to relationships to family disputes, you’re going to have disagreements in your life. How you overcome them will shape the dynamic of your relationships. In this guide, we will go over some conflict resolution strategies that work in any situation.
Collect Your Thoughts before the Discussion
If you are going to address a conflict with someone, take time to collect your thoughts. If you go in with heated emotions, a discussion can quickly turn into an argument. Assess the facts, determine how you feel and why you feel that way, and think of how the incident could have been avoided. Once you have that information and your emotions have calmed, you can approach the person with a level head.
Note that it may be beneficial to ‘sleep on it.’ Give yourself the night to think things over. If you are still upset in the morning, then it’s clearly important to you. If the emotions have passed, then you avoided a potentially stressful discussion.
Recognize What You’ve Done Wrong
Every person’s natural instinct is to think they are right and the other person is wrong. That may be the case, but not usually. In most disagreements, both parties are at fault in some way. Think about what you may have done wrong in the situation. How could you have made it better or easier? If you find a flaw on your end, you can bring that up to validate the other person. This will make them more likely to concede to your perspective.
Acknowledge the Other Person’s Point of View
“I get it. You feel like…” In an argument, you want to feel like the other person is actually listening to what you have to say. They want the same respect from you. Show that you are paying attention, not just waiting for your turn to speak. Don’t repeat information word for word though. Listen, interpret, and rephrase to show that you have absorbed the information.
Speak in Turns
Most people talk over one another during a conflict. You want to immediately respond to what the other person is saying so you don’t lose your train of thought. However, speaking over each other shows disrespect, and it can escalate feelings of anger and resentment. Speak in turns. If you have to, use an object to represent whose turn it is. Pass it back and forth to ensure your voices are heard.
Respect the End of an Argument
If the argument has reached a successful conclusion, drop it. Dwelling is not good for your mental health, and it does not benefit the situation. One of the biggest complaints we hear in couples counseling or family counseling is, “We have the same arguments over and over.” You can stop the cycle by respecting the resolution.
Discuss Solutions, Not Just Problems
Instead of pointing out problems, suggest solutions. Instead of “You don’t help me out enough around the house,” say, “I think we need a better chore system to balance responsibilities.” The first comes across as a complaint. The second is an actionable solution. These are the tactics that keep disagreements at a manageable level.
Want More Personalized Conflict Resolution Strategies?
The tips above work for general circumstances, but you may prefer a more tailored approach. This is especially true for couples, where there are two unique personalities in place. You can work with a couples counselor, marriage counselor or family counselor to find conflict resolution strategies that work well for you.
Sherman Counseling offers confidential counseling services in Appleton WI, Oshkosh WI, and Green Bay WI. Contact us today to get matched with a therapist near you.